Roundup – World Environment News (1st August, 2017)

Another fortnight has gone by and the fight to save the environment continues. The fight for climate change has become tougher with news that India has diverted money away from the green fund, a journey in the arctic is now easier due to melting ice caps and Al Gore’s new documentary serves as a stark reminder that different parts of the world continue to be affected. The Mediterranean sea is full of plastic waste and researchers have just found another garbage patch which is nearly a million kilometres long in the South Pacific Ocean. News from the Philippines that continues to ban open-pit mining and efforts by the local governments in Kerala to find a solution plastic waste is encouraging. Read more below-


India diverts $25 billion away from the Clean Energy Fund

Since 2014, the coal cess was raised from 50 rupees to 400 rupees a tonne with the revenue supposedly going towards the green fund for cleaning the environment. 63% of this money amounting to 56,700 crores at the beginning of the financial year, has now been allocated to compensate states losing out to due to the GST reforms. More of this revenue from the next 5 years is expected to go the same way. This is a huge setback for the environment and India’s commitments under the Paris Agreement are under threat.

Read more here.


Mediterranean sea trashed by plastic waste

Research suggests 3000 tonnes of the material is floating on the surface of the sea currently, with more being added every year. And because the Sea is almost fully enclosed the plastic is trapped, taking decades to break down making it a threat to marine animals and tourists alike. Nearly 90% of green turtles caught in the area have reportedly got plastic waste like straws, bags etc. in their digestive system. It’s an added potential threat to a population that already has a high mortality rate from fishing nets.

Read about it here.


Kerala to have more roads using plastic waste

Plastic waste was used in around 10% of roads constructed by local bodies in Ernakulam in Kerala last year. The decision to encourage the construction of polymerised roads is expected to evolve as a sustainable solution to the issue of plastic refuse. Clean Kerala Company, the government agency involved in implementing projects to make the State waste-free, will collect shredded plastic from local bodies. It will be handed over to the local bodies for construction of polymerised roads.

Read more here.


Al Gore releases a sequel to his 2006 Oscar-winning documentary, called “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”

The sequel shows climate change as all too real. It opens with images of the Greenland ice sheets melting, the routine flooding in Miami Beach and the increasingly violent weather caused when warming oceans pump more and more moisture into the atmosphere can all be traced back to the Arctic meltdown. There is focus on the Paris Agreement as well, with Gore shown spending hours on the phone communicating with the world’s leading manufacturer of solar panels – including Tesla – and convincing them to make an offer charitable enough to be a game-changer. This offer eventually led to India signing the accord.

For more information, access it here.


Philippines’ environment minister refuses to lift ban on open-pit mining

The environment minister of Philippines has refused to lift the ban on open-pit mining despite severe pressure from the mining industry. His predecessor, Regina Lopez, led a 10-month campaign to rein in the mining industry, ordering the closure or suspension of 26 mines in the world’s top nickel ore supplier and imposing a ban on open-pit mining. The Minister also wants to stop exporting unprocessed mineral resources and has warned miners in the world’s top nickel ore supplier that he would impose more taxes on the industry to raise money to help communities hurt by their operation.

Read more here.


Arctic journey shows the drastic effect of climate change

A Finnish icebreaker recently completed the northwest sea passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans across the Canadian Arctic, one that glaringly revealed the effects of climate change on the fragile Arctic environment. The trip from Vancouver Canada to Greenland’s capital city Nuuk took 24 days. This showed that ice in the area was thinning, or non-existent due to the effects of global warming.

Read here.


79% of plastic in landfills, water bodies 

The Science Advances Journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), has come out with a new study on plastic, quantifying its production and explaining how 79% of the total plastic waste of 6,300 million metric tons is accumulated in landfills or in the natural environment (river system and oceans). Main plastics are in the form of carry bags, packaging films, wrapping materials, fluid containers, clothing, toys, household applications, industrial products, engineering applications and building materials.

Read about it here.


South Pacific Ocean Gyre holds massive garbage patch

Researchers have confirmed the existence of another garbage patch named the South Pacific Garbage Patch near the coast of Chile and Easter Island. It is an enormous accumulation of countless pieces of small, plastic debris, which could be more than a million square kilometres in size. Nearly 35% of south Pacific Lanternfish have consumed plastic, containing chemical compounds that they cannot digest which is also a concern for humans, as the fish serve as prey to commercially farmed tuna and salmon.

More here.


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